Delaware Arts and Entertainment Education: OperaDelaware in Wilmington, Youth Opera Program, Opera in Schools

Few rival OperaDelaware for education. For the past 42 of its 67 years, it has been leading the way. The company’s 12 programs reach more than 6,000 youths and adults every year. Current offerings include Opera in Schools, which introduces the genre to students in underserved schools, and the Youth Opera Program, where children learn everything there is to know about producing an opera, from singing to writing to set building and stage management. The holistic nature of the form presents opportunities to teach children many skills, says director of development Carin Brastow. Among other things, “We want to expose students to language that goes beyond the ordinary and we want them to think creatively about language,” she says. “We want to teach the elements of story and help students develop an imaginative relationship to writing.” Such efforts often lead children to discovering paths and opportunities they never knew existed for them. OperaDelaware can help adults, too. It teaches teachers how to use creativity in the classroom. (A new program in June showed 46 Red Clay district educators how to use such things as dance to teach fractions, for example.) Others can explore questions such as how the theme of “Porgy and Bess,” OperaDelaware’s current production, is relevant today. OperaDelaware also takes its show on the road, performing and discussing productions with groups at The Freeman Stage in Fenwick Island, Clear Space Theatre in Rehoboth Beach, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Lewes and New Castle County libraries. “We want to enhance the experience for everyone from lifelong aficionados to first-timers,” Brastow says. Wilmington, 658-8063,

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